If you’ve never done it before, counting calories can really be tedious. You probably aren’t used to putting a number to the quantity and type of foods that you eat every day. The truth is, if you don’t start learning how to count your daily calories, you won’t know what progress you’re making and you won’t be able to meet the goals that you are making for yourself.
Two things will undoubtedly happen when you start counting calories. You’ll probably be shocked at how far off the mark you are from what you imagined your eating habits looked like, and you’ll find that writing down everything that you eat is a strong motivation for making better food choices. It is hard to dodge the truth when it’s right in front of you in black and white. Even if you’re not going on a prolonged diet, try counting calories for a few days every year as a way to check your status. It can be a real eye-opener. If you’re struggling to lose weight and can’t figure out why you’re not making any progress, you can gain some invaluable insights by examining your daily caloric intake.
You’ll probably be surprised how many calories are in those little late-night snacks that you can’t resist, or the giant frappuccino that you sneak in on your lunch break. Calorie counting can be difficult, but there are ways to make it easier. Try counting the daily servings that you have of the different essential food groups. The US government has an excellent website called: mypyramid.gov. Here you can customize your own food pyramid with suggested servings of each food group. You’ll probably see suggestions like: 6 oz of whole grains per day, 6 oz of lean meat daily, 2 ½ cups of vegetables per day, etc.
By tracking your food in simple identifiable units like this, you’ll be able to stay on track without a lot of the tedium that goes into adding up specific numbers of calories all the time. Mypyramid.gov also gives you tips on how best to prepare foods from each food group. Suggestions like sticking to lean meat that is baked, broiled or grilled can be the difference that helps you to eat as smart as possible. There are all kinds of other supporting materials that help you estimate portion sizes, and even break down complicated foods like pizza into the separate food groups.
You’re much more likely to find balance in your daily diet if you stick to a pyramid structure for counting calories. It helps you to see what you’re eating broken down into proportions each day. If you find yourself struggling to stay under your calorie limit for the day, try a meal replacement supplement. This is a great way to treat yourself to a low calorie meal with plenty of protein (the best type of meal replacements use whey protein, low in fat and extremely high in protein), and lots of extra nutrients to give you a nice boost during the day. You’ll be surprised how much this can help you cut down calories without sacrificing nutrition.
Embrace the truth, start counting calories, and pay attention to the results, you’ll be surprised at how much progress you can make when you see clearly where you are and where you want to be.